Star Prince Charlie

by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson
Series: Hoka
Reviewed date: 2007 Jul 5
Rating: 1
189 pages
cover art

Star Prince Charlie is a juvenile. It is about young Charlie Stuart, who is on his own personal grand tour of the universe. He gets caught up in local politics on the planet Talyina. One faction kidnaps him and forces him to act the part of the red-haired liberator foretold in Talyinan prophecies. Charlie's only ally is his Hoka companion, Bertram. But Bertram is more interested in roleplaying the part of Charlie's Scottish ancestor than in facing reality.

I did not finish reading Star Prince Charlie. Did I mention it's a juvenile? The plot is tedious. I can see Poul Anderson's hand in it--the setting is a pre-industrial backwater planet, and the main characters have to use their wits to survive. But the idea of the Hoka is what ruins it. The idea of an intelligent species being predisposed to roleplay elements out of Earth's history is absurd.

Worse, the Hoka talks in dialect. It's hard to read. No competent writer should use dialect. It's always a mistake.

Star Prince Charlie might not be bad fare for a ten-year-old. If that ten-year-old can wrap his head around words like autochthonous. Otherwise, skip it.

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